Marco Rubio: NDAA Will Help Secure the Nation, Help Florida

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., threw his support behind the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report, noting that it helps Florida and includes the Fiscal Year 2020 Intelligence Authorization Act.

The conference committee advanced the NDAA on Monday. Congress is expected to pass it in the days to come.

Rubio weighed in on the NDAA on Tuesday and explained why he was supporting it.

“The brave men and women serving in our nation’s armed forces are the focus of any NDAA. Not only does this NDAA ensure our armed forces have access to critical resources needed for troop preparedness, it also grants our service men and women their largest pay raise in a decade,” Rubio said. “I am encouraged to see that Florida continues to be a priority in this NDAA, with funding for military construction projects across the state, including the recovery of Tyndall Air Force Base, as well as numerous programs which are operated, produced in, or supported in some form in Florida. I am also pleased to see the passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act, which includes provisions to strengthen our Intelligence Community, safeguard our elections, and better position our country to defend against Chinese, Russian, and other foreign threats.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is also backing the NDAA which stands at $738 billion which includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for the military and sends $1.5 billion to help Tyndall Air Force Base which was damaged by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.

Rubio’s office listed the senator’s supported provisions in the FY20 NDAA:

Disaster Recovery

The bill authorizes over $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of Tyndall Air Force Base and includes a Sense of Congress calling for the restoration of the base using innovative construction methods, materials, designs, and technologies in order to achieve efficiencies, cost savings, resiliency, and capability. This reconstruction is allowed to open architecture design to evolve with the national defense strategy and efficient ergonomic enterprise for members of the Air Force in the 21st century.

Military Construction

The FY20 NDAA supports $192,006,000 in funding for Military Construction projects across Florida in additional to disaster-related funding.

Pay Raise

The Conference report pays particular attention to family support, including providing for a 3.1 percent pay raise (the largest increase in a decade), extending special pay and bonuses for service members.

Paid Family Leave

The conference agreement provides 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all federal civilian employees.

Military Family Housing

The NDAA implements the most substantial overhaul of the Privatized Military Housing Initiative since its creation in 1996. These reforms address the considerable gaps in oversight and accountability seen at all levels of housing management from ineffective housing offices, to substandard property management, to under-engaged military leadership. The conference report requires the Pentagon to establish a Tenant Bill of Rights that sets minimum acceptable livability standards, requires better communication, creates greater transparency, addresses establishment of a formal dispute resolution process, bans the use of non-disclosure agreements as a condition of moving out of military housing, and enhances protections against reprisal.

Specifically, the conference report:

Requires the Department to establish a standardized assessment tool to be used in  evaluating military housing for certain risks, including lead and mold;

Directs each military service to develop guidelines for a dispute resolution process to include the ability to withhold Basic Allowance for Housing until the dispute is resolved;

Increases transparency for families by requiring disclosure of major repairs/remediation prior to lease signing;

Reinforces the need for the Government Housing Office to be present as the advocate for military families;

Requires new quality control measures and increases health and hazard inspections;

Authorizes additional funding to ensure installation housing offices are properly staffed;

Provides for a temporary direct hiring authority for government housing personnel to increase oversight of private contractors; and Suspends the Resident Energy Conservation Program until the Secretary of Defense can certify that homes are accurately metered.

Made in Florida

The FY20 NDAA authorizes the following programs which are operated, produced in or supported in some form in Florida:

Supports the budget request for 73 UH-60M Blackhawks, 48 AH-64 Apaches, 9 MH-47G Chinooks, 6 CH-53K King Stallions, 12 HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters, and 6 MQ-1 Gray Eagles;

Includes an additional $28 million for the CH-47 Block II program and preserves the option for the Army to buy this helicopter in future years;

Prohibits the retirement of RC-135 and KC-10 aircraft;

Expands maritime patrol by adding three additional P-8 Poseidon and one E-2D Hawkeye aircraft;

Increases intertheater airlift by adding four additional C-130 Hercules aircraft;

Fully supports the Air Force UH-1N utility helicopter replacement program;

Supports the Army budget request for 131 Armored Multipurpose Vehicles, 152 Stryker Combat Vehicles, and 165 Abrams Tanks; and Provides for additional funding for Army medium and heavy tactical trucks.

Authorizes an additional $1 billion for 12 additional F-35A aircraft to address an identified Air Force unfunded requirement and accelerate delivery of needed 5th generation capability and $440 million for the purchase of additional F-35s originally ordered by Turkey;

Provides the necessary authority for buying F-35 long lead spare parts in bulk to help achieve better cost savings for the F-35 program and authorizes buy-to-budget authority to capitalize on lower unit cost savings;

Supports the budget request for 10 F-35B and 20 F-35C 5th generation strike fighters to help address Navy and Marine Corps strike fighter shortfalls;

Supports the budget request for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to help address Navy strike fighter shortfalls;

Supports full funding for the B-21 long-range strike aircraft development;

Supports the budget request for 8 F-15EX aircraft to begin replacing aging aircraft while also enhancing congressional oversight of the program;

Supports nearly $1 billion for the Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) Program ensuring U.S. air superiority for our future;

Authorizes an additional $249.2 million for the Stryker combat vehicle medium caliber weapon system, an identified Army unfunded requirement.

Feres Doctrine

While the NDAA does not repeal the Feres doctrine, it authorizes the Secretary of Defense to allow, settle, and pay an administrative claim against the United States for personal injury or death of a member of the uniformed services that was the result of medical malpractice caused by a Department of Defense health care provider.

Industrial Base

The FY20 NDAA enables the DoD to assess and mitigate risks to its supply chain posed by advanced intelligence services like China and Russia that seek to exploit vulnerabilities to erode our military advantage. The NDAA:

Modernizes risk assessment and mitigation across DOD’s contracting processes to strengthen decision-making about which suppliers to use;

Strengthens reporting to Congress on key industrial base vulnerabilities and plans to address them, including with partners and allies.

Improves insight to and mitigation of risks posed by foreign ownership, control and influence of defense contractors;

Improves insight to contractors’ adherence to law and regulation pertaining to human rights and human trafficking, workplace safety, labor standards, sexual harassment, and fraud;

Reduces reliance on foreign sources of rare earth minerals;

Repairs microelectronics supply chain security; and

Enhances manufacturing and small business innovation.

Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

The FY20 NDAA prohibits transferring GTMO detainees to the U.S., transferring GTMO detainees to certain other countries, constructing or modifying new detention centers in the United States, or on closing or relinquishing control of GTMO. The NDAA also establishes a Chief Medical Officer to oversee the medical care provided to individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, reporting directly to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

Counternarcotics

The FY20 NDAA provides $945 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. It also requires an assessment of the impact of any planned or proposed border wall construction would have on the volume of illegal narcotics entering the United States. Finally, it adopts the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, which implements a number of economic and financial sanctions to cripple the operations of foreign traffickers of opioids.

Intelligence Authorization

The FY20 NDAA includes three years of Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA), which authorizes critical intelligence and intelligence-related activities for Fiscal Year 2018, 2019, and 2020 to ensure the Intelligence Community is postured to effectively address the growing array of threats to our national security. Further, the IAA seeks to deter Russian and other foreign influence in our U.S. elections by requiring assessments of foreign intelligence threats to Federal elections and a strategy for countering Russian cyber threats to U.S. elections.

The IAA also addresses challenges to the Intelligence Community’s supply chain by requiring an Intelligence Community-led task force to protect against counterintelligence threats from countries such as Russia and China and requires accountability for foreign threats to our infrastructure before entering into foreign intelligence sharing agreements. The bill also focuses on the security of the homeland by requiring relevant intelligence agencies to conduct a strategic intelligence assessment of domestic terrorism threats.

PFAS/PFOA

The NDAA prohibits the use of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) after October 1, 2024, with an exception for shipboard use, and immediately prohibits the uncontrolled release of fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and the use of AFFF in training exercises at military installations. The conference agreement encourages the Secretary of Defense to finalize cooperative agreements with states to address contamination by these substances and authorizes the National Guard to access Defense Environmental Remediation Account funds for the limited purpose of addressing PFOS and PFOA exposure and contamination resulting from National Guard activities in and around National Guard bases.

Deterring Foreign Influence in Elections

Counters aggression from Russia and other foreign actors by increasing capabilities to detect Russian activities, including active measures campaigns and illicit financial transactions;

Secures elections from foreign meddling by requiring assessments of Russian cyber threats and influence campaigns, and facilitating information sharing between state, local, and Federal officials;

Supports the IC’s role in countering Russian propaganda by creating an independent Social Media Data and Threat Analysis Center;

Requires the DNI to designate a national counterintelligence (CI) officer within the National Counterintelligence Security Center (NCSC) to lead election security-related CI matters; and Expresses Congress’s view that WikiLeaks resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service.

Increased Oversight of Russian and Chinese Activities

Requires ongoing notifications of travel by certain Russian Federation personnel in the U.S. and any potential active measures campaigns conducted by those individuals;

Requires reporting on foreign surveillance of U.S. telecommunications networks; and

Requires reporting on Chinese influence campaigns directed at Taiwan, including United States actions to disrupt such operations, as well as reporting on surveillance technologies.

Protection of IC Supply Chain from Foreign Counterintelligence Threats

Requires a DNI-created task force to protect IC supply chains from foreign CI risks from Russia, China, and other adversaries;

Requires the IC to account for foreign threats to our infrastructure before entering into foreign intelligence sharing agreements; and

Requires reporting on national security risks from foreign investments.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Every time I see a post on the Feres Doctrine, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I should know because I have been down that same road too already. I even went to federal court in attempt to defend my case. Be aware that Feres also protects the US military from legal malpractice by its own incompetent – and many times unethical – military lawyers.

    While I was on active duty with the US Army, I was threatened by a US Army lawyer named Captain Matthew Fitzgerald to do something which was contrary to the US Army legal regulations (which I did not know at the time but he did). Fitzgerald’s motive was to tout this as his first accomplishment on his annual performance report of which I later got a copy. This threat resulted in my losing over $50,000 of my personal funds.

    When I asked the top lawyer (then Lieutenant General Dana Chipman) for assistance, the first thing they did was appoint Fitzgerald’s previous boss and a very obvious friend to “investigate.” Since there was no wrongdoing found as a result of this faux investigation but specifics were protected by the Privacy Act , I filed the same complaint with Fitzgerald’s Oregon State Bar which is NOT PROTECTED under privacy laws. Evidence showed that Fitzgerald lied no less than 10 times to his Oregon State Bar. Lying to your licensing state bar is grounds for permanent disbarment. The state bar clearly acknowledged that the US Army lawyers were wrongfully “protecting” Fitzgerald and if they were not, the state bar would take action.

    I then sued in federal court. It was all thrown out of federal court due to Feres although I had a slam-dunk case with all evidence in my favor. In fact, I was never even able to get into court and present my case. The judge simply had his law clerks cut-and-paste a previous reply to a previous case. Just to add insult to my financial injury, Fitzgerald since got promoted TWICE as an Army lawyer. Feres was NEVER designed 60 years ago as this kind of “protection.” Today it protects against everything to include corruption, misdeeds, and even cover-ups by US Army lawyers wearing stars on their shoulders.

    Fitzgerald became a prosecutor and sent people to Fort Leavenworth prison for violations LESS than what he is clearly guilty. Lying to the feds is a crime punishable by prison. You don’t believe that? Look at what happened with what Robert Mueller has done in 2018 and 2019.

    Go to the link https://www.facebook.com/people/Feres-Doctrine/100011369043077 and you will see it all.

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